2009Jim TruittRegion 8 Aviation Safety Manager7/31/2009Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter Regional Aviation              ...
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter
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Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter

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Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter

  1. 1. 2009Jim TruittRegion 8 Aviation Safety Manager7/31/2009Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter Regional Aviation Safety NewsletterVol. III Newsletter July 2009 We mentioned the “Four Pillars” and the Basic Elements of a Safety Management System (SMS), here are the Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) view of the 12 Attributes of SMS:A Management Plan. This can be stated in a few sentences or in a letter to the employees. It is the position and intentions of the senior manager in regard to how safety will be made a part of the organization’s operations. It is written down and becomes a living document that can be updated and modified to encompass organizational changes. It is an evolving statement that also describes the safety philosophy of the top executive and the goals he sets for the organization.Safety Promotion. The everyday work activities are in accordance with and in support of the safety program. The individuals accept the safety and accident prevention aims of the organization and utilize the services and equipment provided for those purposes. It is the use and the acceptance in the performance of the usual activities that make the safety culture recognized and successful.Policy, Procedure and Method. There are specific policies, directives and methods established and understood by all employees. Their use and awareness of the organizational policy promotes the safety awareness and draws the line for everyone without pressure or threat.Records and Documents. There is an organized management of records and documents and the data is used in accident prevention. Problems are sought by analyzing the data for trends and indications.Hazard Identification. The entire operation is examined on a periodic basis to disclose the presence of potentially harmful hazards and the risk management process is applied to reduce, mitigate or remove.Hazard Reporting. Occurrences are reported free of retaliation.Occurrence Investigation and Analysis.Safety Assurance Oversight Programs.Safety Management Training.Management of Change.Emergency Preparedness and response.Performance Measurements.See if you can match the attributes of a SMS Program to the basic elements:– Senior management commitment, – Organizational culture– Hazard identification and analysis– Risk management– Accident and incident investigation – Audit and evaluation– Proactive accident prevention programs – Training and education– Documentation– Data base construction and analysis – Safety reporting system– Audits, Surveys and Inspections Having a SMS approach ensures that safety requirements are built into the design used to perform the work required. The requirements should include:Responsibility and authority defined in Policy, RegulationProcedures to provide clear instructions and controls, organizational and supervisory, on all activities, to ensure that the processes used produce the correct outcome and provided in Guides and HandbooksOne consideration of Aviation Safety is the subtle shift in accident investigation; moving from a concentrated focus on the performances of individual ‘frontline’ operators, such as pilots, air traffic controllers and maintenance personnel, to consideration of the performance of the system as a whole. These frontline operators always have a part to play in safety and are, unfortunately, usually playing a part in accidents.Aviation accident investigation has the goal of prevention and there are many entities searching for ways to improve aviation safety using accident statistics and other reported information. But, several facts are already known- For almost every aviation accident or incident, civil or military, the subsequent investigation has shown that: ∙ The main contributing factors were present before it happened ∙ In some cases they were common knowledge∙ They had been formally documented∙ Many people were not surprised by what happened In all cases, they could have, and should have, been identified and fixed before the accident or incident. This is not looking at accidents with the benefit of hindsight- It is simply a fact. The absence of an integrated Safety Management System in some of the organizations directly involved was a key factor in explaining why critical safety deficiencies were not identified and rectified beforehand.Some would argue that no matter what we do-major accidents will occur-given enough time and participation in flight activities. Another view is expressed by the statement that all accidents are preventable. I admit I’m influenced by one and motivated by the other. The accident prevention efforts that the FS and we, as employees, make as an organization are balanced by fiscal restraint and the need to accomplish a mission. The cost of prevention for “Zero” would be prohibitive and we would be performing our mission from remote locations utilizing robots and UAVs. This may be the way of the future, but for now we still need direct “hands-on” technology.It is useful to recognize that accidents rarely occur as spontaneous events-an immediate cause and effect relationship. We’ve all heard of the “Chain of Events” that emerges from accident investigation. My friend, Steve Rausch, with AMD, calls it “peeling the onion”. When we examine each step, process and event in an accident we can see the chain unfold. Unfortunately, when one is involved in the event it is not so readily apparent. As we use new tools to focus on the areas of accident causation that respond to our influence; we can provide the emphasis where it is most needed. When our information and data collection reveal reoccurring conditions that are present during accidents we can respond. By applying what we learn, we can concentrate our efforts to respond with increased emphasis and constant vigilance when we enter or engage in activities that have been demonstrated by past experiences to expose us to increased risk.The major areas of accident consideration and prevention efforts are: Man, Machine, Mission, Environment, and the Situation. We plan and Risk Manage the activity and watch for the opportunity to add our influence or observations to each of these areas. Each area has a list of items that need to be within established parameters, whether by SOP, Procedure, Policy, or sometimes, common sense. For example, Man-indications that eyesight is deteriorating in older pilots, Machine-the aircraft is not appropriate for the activity, Mission- the pilot is not fully capable or adequately experienced for the Mission, Environment-the dynamics of weather should not be underestimated-especially in it’s effect on aircraft performance, Situation- the situation rarely remains static and small changes have a way of creeping into a mission until they take over and redefine the entire scenario.With SMS we have an opportunity to be proactive and use a systematic approach to the prevention of accidents with the adoption and employment of SMS. As the name implies a Safety Management System focuses on a systems approach – the network of people and resources performing activities that accomplish some mission or goal in the organization’s work environment. This especially applies to the recognition of the importance of the interrelationships with vendors and contractors and other agencies.No job is so important and no service so urgent that we cannot take time to perform our work safely Regional Aviation Safety Manager Vol. II Newsletter June 2009 Dan O. asked me to include everyone on the R8 email list for future Issues of this “Newsletter”-- So, that’s why you received this copy. To continue with our discussion of Safety in general and SMS in particular-A critical part of managing safety is the Safety Culture of the organization. Indeed, it may be “the” critical element. Effective Safety Management requires more than establishing an appropriate organizational structure and making rules and procedures to be followed. It requires a commitment on the part of the senior management. An indicator of management support is the adequacy of resources allocations. In effective Safety Cultures, there are clear reporting lines, clearly defined duties and well-understood procedures, assigning responsibilities and accountabilities and allocating resources. Safety Cultures consist of psychological (how people think and feel), behavioral (how people and groups act and perform) and structural (the programs, procedures, and organization of the enterprise) elements. Many of the processes specified in the policy, risk management, assurance and promotion components of the SMS provide the framework for this organizational structural element. However, the organization must also set in place processes that allow for communication among employees and with the organization’s management. The aviation service provider component, whether internal or contractor, must make every effort to communicate its goals and objectives to their personnel, and how they intend to conduct their activities and significant events. The aviation service providers must supply a means of upward communication in an environment of openness. This is the “Just Culture “aspect of a Safety Culture; this develops and nurtures a relationship where the people have confidence in their organization to treat them fairly and consistently. Dr. James Reason, among other current organizational system safety theorists, stresses the need for a “reporting culture” as an important aspect of safety culture. The organization must do what it can to cultivate the willingness of its members to contribute to the organization’s knowledge base. Dr. Reason further stresses the need for a “just culture,” where employees have the confidence that, while they will be held accountable for their actions, the organization will treat them fairly.It is the management of the organizational mission and goals that SMS is best applied. By planning, organizing, directing, and controlling these assets and working to accomplish the organization’s goals in consideration of the safety aspects from beginning to end. It is critical that we understand that SMS as a whole and Risk Management as an element is to be used in undertaking any task-especially in new or high risk activities. This means anytime we contemplate a new activity or before commencing regular activities we will either perform a Risk Assessment or review the appropriate Risk Assessment if one has been previously created. We move Risk Management into the initial planning stage instead of a task to be completed elsewhere in the process. If you stop and think about the multitude of steps and the levels of responsibility that we identify and require for the simplest tasks involving travel or other financial related activities doesn’t it make sense to commit a few minutes of time to review our tasks for hazards that could potentially lead to an accident. The old saying “If you think Safety is too expensive-Try an accident” is very true. Accidents in aviation are particularly expensive and often have costs in human suffering that can’t be estimated.An effective Safety Management System includes four key elements; they are even referred to as “Pillars” of SMS. They are: CultureSafety PolicySafety AssuranceRisk Management Safety Promotion We should identify these elements in regard to what we expect to be accomplished and by whom in our organization.Safety Policy includes the management commitment, responsibility, and accountability. We can see the initial commitment from senior management as represented in the adoption of SMS as the way the Forest Service(FS) intends “to do business”. The basic elements of an SMS are already integrated into the FS Aviation Safety Program, so we will be working to improve their application and functionality. There will be additional ways to identify this commitment as we move to a more policy documented stage of SMS. Safety assurance is where we monitor and measure safety performance, the audits and surveys we use to change management and continuously improve our program. Safety Assurance is accomplished by utilizing the various tools we have available to continually measure and assess our status in relation to maintaining our level of desired protection. They include inspections, audits and surveys. They need to be performed on a regular basis and by individuals with experience that allows them to identify problem areas and expose potential hazards before they can become a threat to safety. When we conduct an audit or inspection we use a “Safety Focused Perspective”. This includes the use of Guides and Checklists, but more importantly it includes the insight of a trained safety professional Safety Promotion is interesting because it’s a sequence that develops as a result of the Safety Culture and it is a component generated by the Safety culture. When the organization’s Safety culture is functioning correctly we see the Senior Management’s commitment to safety and SMS, there is clear and regular communication of policy, goals, objectives, standards and performance to all employees, and there is feedback, confidential if desired, that allows the retrieval and use of information collected to improve safety performance. Dr. Reason says managing safety is like fighting a guerilla war, where there are no final victories. It’s a never-ending struggle to identify and eliminate or control hazards. We’ll never run out of things to do to make the system safer. Our goal is to identify the ways to make the system safer, decide how to achieve them and hold ourselves accountable for achieving them.Another of Dr. Reason’s principles of organizational safety culture is that of a “learning culture.” The information in reports, audits, investigation, and other data sources does no good if the organization does not learn from it. The standard also requires a means of analysis of this information and a linkage to the safety assurance process. The standard requires an analysis process, a preventive/corrective action process, and a path to the safety risk management process for the development of new safety controls, as environments change and new hazards are identified. It further requires that the organization provide training and information about risk controls and lessons learned. The Risk Management element of SMS is also found in the current FS Aviation Safety Program and our goal is to enhance its use by improving the elements of RM as a tool. To make it easily understood and more user friendly in its application. The Safety Office will be publishing a comprehensive Risk Assessment (RA) of aviation activities, to be used as a guide and to assist individuals, performing Risk Assessments, in identifying hazards in the activities they engage in. The basic RA procedure helps us determine where the greatest risks are and set priorities for mitigation. The priorities then become our goals and we can concentrate on identifying and reducing or removing them as precursors to accidents. The worst hazards are those that lie within our system as latent weaknesses waiting to combine with other elements and hazards to produce an accident. It is this function of SMS that I find the greatest source of benefit and tangible action that can be translated into accident prevention. The application of Risk Management to any undertaking will enhance and improve that action. Whether we pursue business or financial benefits, or we want to make an activity safer, Risk Management is the tool for the job. When we review, audit and inspect we need to keep Risk Management in the process in order to contemplate the boundaries of an activity. We sometimes apply the term “what-if” to an exercise of Risk Analysis and that is a very useful method of getting a perspective that will encompass all the various events in any undertaking. It is much better to have thought or planned an activity from beginning to end than to be in the middle of something and realize that you never considered the circumstance you are encountering.Risk Management allows us to identify hazards, assess their impact and mitigate or remove them. This is a goal for the entire organization, its Divisions, Programs and Contractors, as well as, to the individuals within an organization. For myself, I appreciate having important elements identified as goals. This allows me to focus the necessary time, energy and resources to make them successful. Few organizations are good at developing Safety Goals. The most common problem is that we tend to focus on outcomes. Usually this means counting accidents. Safe organizations can have accidents while less safe organizations can be lucky and avoid accidents. But, if we don’t set tangible goals then we learn less about our systems - until we have an accident.At the time of this writing the aviation authorities are trying to piece together the facts surrounding the French Airbus crash in the Atlantic between Rio de Janerio and Paris. The facts emerging are pointing to a break-up in flight due to weather. The flight path took the airliner through an area of the world’s strongest storms. One writer characterized the crash as a plane in an unequal fight with Mother Nature. If I were contemplating a flight in that area a simple Risk Assessment would yield the information needed to help me make my mind up on whether to fly or wait for better weather. The zone in question has predictable weather patterns and to maximize your chances of avoiding the bad weather you just need to be aware of these schedules. It is an inconvenience and some of the experts say it is unnecessary to take the phenomena into account when scheduling flights. I know what I would do. But, how many people rely on Risk Management to the extent that they would think to do a Risk Assessment of a flight. If we achieve the kind of Safety Culture we are hoping for-you will all be doing Risk Assessments for everything you do - work and leisure.In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks. — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900 <br />Region 8 Aviation Safety Newsletter Introducing the new Region 8 RAMMAY 2009 <br />I haven’t had the opportunity to meet everyone face to face so, I thought I’d send a short message to tell you what I’ve been up to for the past couple of weeks. I would also like to create a forum for discussion of aviation issues and items of interest.<br />My official start day was April 13th, 2009 and the first two weeks are really kind of a blur. I am still in-processing and getting to know how to do the little things as well as learning my duties and responsibilities. I would invite everyone to feel free to make suggestions and give advice on what I should be doing to further the Safety interests of the Aviation Operations in Region 8.<br />I have had the opportunity to meet almost everyone listed in the Aviation Group and I apologize to anyone that I have not said “Hello” to and introduced myself. If we have not met please come by or stop me and let me introduce myself. <br />I was able to make a short trip to the airport with Dan O. and see the offices, hangar and maintenance tool room-very impressive. I got to meet Donna and say hello to Ric, whom I met in Boise during the RASM/RAO meeting in Boise the first of April. Since I met Dan Z. and Larry at that time the only person I haven’t shaken by the hand is Jack. I was also able to go along on a Program Review in Region 9 with WO West personnel, which was very informative. I continue to in-process and learn my way around the Regional Office.<br />As I mentioned I would like to use a format similar to this to communicate some of the items that are of interest to us in the Aviation side of things. One of the items of interest and perhaps, some degree of anxiety is the Safety Management Systems (SMS) Program that the Forest Service will be implementing for ourselves and our contractors.<br />Before we delve into SMS I would like to give you an idea of my understanding of Aviation Safety and what I view as the critical elements of my position’s duties and responsibilities. I’m sure each of you feels that your duties cover a large area both in terms of geography and the number of individual tasks. I feel the same and in order for me to be effective I have to maximize certain opportunities to make a difference. <br />I will try to become known to as many of our Regional aviation users as possible, both FS and Operator/Contractors. Since that is a difficult undertaking I would ask that each of you maintain your appreciation for Aviation Safety with a perspective of helping me be successful. When you have the right opportunity bring Safety into the discussion and offer my services to help anyone with issues or a need to understand what path we are taking in regard to Aviation Safety. I need you all to help me reach the folks that it would take me years to make personal contact with or perhaps even realize how to contact them.<br />We are taking a new path and I don’t mean just SMS. SMS will play a very important role in addressing the need to improve accident prevention. But, SMS is one part of a two part change. <br />The first part is characterized by the adoption of a specific method of managing safety-The SMS method. The second is less recognized but will be the true measure of a successful paradigm shift in FS Aviation Management - The Safety Culture that emerges from the adoption of SMS.<br />We are shifting from a “Safety Program” which is a Behavior Based Safety program approach to a “Systems Management” approach. The difference may seem small unless we review the terms and define what philosophical implications are required to effect this change.<br />A Safety Program can be defined as an “integrated set of regulations and activities aimed at improving safety”-FAA, AC 120-92. While the FS surpasses that definition we still have a Behavior Based approach to Safety Management.<br />Behavior Based Safety has been and still is the model for many modern Safety Programs used by some big name companies. They have their beginnings in HW Heinrich’s theories and studies, in the 1930s and 40s that developed into the first models applied to Safety in the workplace. Heinrich presented many theories that became accepted as fact and even though flawed in comparison to today’s extensive research methodology, they are often quoted and used in modern Safety Management...<br />Heinrich suggested, based on his study, that workers committed “unsafe acts” and these were the cause of accidents. Heinrich also proposed that for each accident there were a large number of “close calls” and this presented the opportunity for intervention of various types and at various levels of performance. He depicted these levels as a pyramid structure with the close calls at the base and at the top-the accident.<br />The relationship of unsafe acts to accidents cannot be denied-but; the understanding of how unsafe acts can be committed in the first place is where Behavior Based Safety leaves us hanging. Behavior Based Safety is popular for simple reasons: They make Health and Safety issues seem simple, they don’t require management change, they focus on the worker and they seem cheaper than addressing or correcting the hazards found in the mission.<br />As I said Heinrich’s model is found in some form in most Safety Programs - In our Aviation Program we incorporate a version of Heinrich’s Model in the use of basic requirements for pilot qualification and training. This would be our base of the pyramid and the basic level of Aviation Safety Management. The next level and opportunity for intervention or prevention is the reporting of hazards and unsafe conditions. This is voluntary by pilots or others involved in the task, or it may be reported by an observer-SafeCom. <br />Another level is the occasion of checking or carding a pilot. There is an opportunity to correct behavior or restrict activities if need be. The relief of a pilot from flying duties is the extreme, but the exercise of that opportunity is one of critical importance.<br />Where we go beyond Behavior Based response is the institution of a complete and comprehensive Safety program... We use every tool available to combat the enemies of Safe Aviation Operations. The problem is that the environment is dynamic and enemy constantly evolving. It’s similar to the fight against medical illnesses- as soon as we find a workable defense the problem changes form or substance or develops immunity to the treatment. The saying that there are no new accidents is not entirely true-but; we do seem to find many different ways to have similar accidents.<br />But the real change and the one that is worth all the time energy, possible frustrations and work, is the evolution of a real and observable Safety Culture that adopts and embraces the philosophy that comes with the SMS Program.<br />SMS is viewed as an opportunity for the Forest Service and has several valuable tools that we plan to utilize on a regular basis. The definition of SMS varies depending on the source. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Safety Management Manual, Doc 9859, says it is: “An organized approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures”.<br />The FAA states that it is a: “Structured management system to control risk in operations”.<br />I tend not to worry about a definition and let the systems part unfold and speak for itself. We will be working over an extended period of time to bring the concepts into tangible programs along with any defined requirements. Right now we, as Aviation Managers, should be messengers with a positive outlook whenever we have the chance to discuss SMS. In order to promote SMS we need to learn more about SMS, risk management and aviation safety in general. <br />More to Follow--<br />That’s my goal. I would like to provide information, foster discussion and find out what you think about SMS, and FS Aviation and how I can help with anything I can. Thanks for your attention and support.<br /> Jim<br />Most accidents originate in actions committed by reasonable, rational individuals who were acting to achieve an assigned task in what they perceived to be a responsible and professional manner…..<br />

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